Currently employed in New York, not far from where he grew up, Darren Dibenedetto stated that “a big piece of his heart was left in Aiken.”
Darren, a 2000 graduate with a degree in Communications was involved in many activities during his years as a USC Aiken student. Although not a member of a collegiate team, his love of sports provided him many great opportunities and memories on Pacer athletic fields and courts. He became the public address announcer for several teams; baseball, volleyball and basketball. In addition to his involvement with athletics, he was a founding member of Beta Omega Chi, a writer for Pacer Times, a member of Pacer Union Board (PUB) and a Pacesetter.
When asked to recall his favorite memories, he responded there are “too many to count”. “The friends and relationships I made during my time at USC Aiken are still very important to me today.” Darren commented that the local community and the campus are some of the most welcoming places he has ever been. He also participated in several road trips, including PUB trips to Chattanooga and Nashville, which were two of his favorites. Steeplechase weekend and the Lobster Races are a couple of community events which made and make Aiken a place that is unforgettable.
In addition to the social aspects of college, Darren stated that he learned a lot about himself and the career path he decided to pursue. He found that the classroom and the academic environment was a place that he learned a lot of life lessons; “learning life skills such as responsibility, integrity, and the value of hard work.” In addition to the faculty, Darren credits caring staff members in Student Life and Athletics who served as mentors and gave him job opportunities.
Darren has been working in the business of Mortgage Origination for the past 14 years and says that he has a goal of every year to be a better producer and leader in his region. He also shared that he was “so thankful that I chose USC Aiken. In fact USC Aiken may have chosen me by default. I really wanted to go to USC in Columbia but they deferred me to USCA. Of course I had already decided I was only going to be at USCA for a year and then transfer. Something happened. I enjoyed my time and met so many wonderful people that I never left. Even to this day while I live and work in New York very close to where I grew up, I still believe that a big piece of my heart was left in Aiken”.
Prepared by Christian Medders, Student Intern, 2016